Bio: Lisa Brooke is a freelance writer since 2008. She is an alumni of the University of London and has done her graduation in English literature. She is a big tech freak, especially about mobile supporting technologies and other related techie stuffs.
Posts by lisabrooke:
Living under the presumption that physical and mental health is not interrelated is incorrect. It is proven true that “a healthy mind rests in a sound body.” Adopting healthy lifestyle options that benefit our body also improves our mental health by leaps and bounds.
Interested to know what activities can you undertake to improve mental health? Read on to check out some interesting yet effortless ways to bring about a significant improvement in your mental health.
- Stress management
Stress has become a stubborn part of our daily lives. Every situation you encounter has a considerable amount of stress attached to it. There is not much you have to do to drive stress away. Take time out to move around if not anything else.
Mere muscle stretching and relaxation is all you need to enable a better flow of blood through your system, making you feel a whole lot better. Enrol yourself into a yoga class or go out for a job. The endorphins pumped into your system this way make your mind function a whole lot better.
The most important aspect of living a healthy life is to get sound sleep. Sleep has a proven impact over the way you function overall, and hence you have to ensure that your body is well-rested. Anything between a good 7-8 hours of sleep is considered to be healthy enough and is enough for your brain to rejuvenate and function at optimum levels.
But what most people miss out is not just the duration of sleep, but the schedule also. One needs to follow a proper sleep schedule daily and should try hit the sack at the same time every night.
- Indulging in recreational activities
Bringing back an old hobby you once were most involved in could be a great way to get your system working. It does not really matter what activity it is, as long as you get to run and jump around and your body gets the desired amount of exercise it really needs.
Indulging in recreational activities also changes the setting you usually find yourself to be in, thus rejuvenating your senses. And there is nothing more the mind likes than a refreshing change of setting every now and then.
- Diet that fulfils your nutritional needs
Adding the right amount of nutrients as per your body’s needs is what is required to bring about a healthy lifestyle that harbours a sound mind. Proteins are said to aid brain functioning and so adding a higher dose of protein can never go wrong. Fish oil supplements and vitamin D also contribute in bettering mental health.
It has been proved that a large chunk of people suffering from mental illnesses have smoking as a common factor. It has been noticed that once you quit smoking, there is a drastic increase in concentration span. In case substitution proves to be of any benefit, try using an e-cigarette. By using an e-cigarette you are only taking in the vapour and not the harmful effects of tobacco that come along with it.
- Avoiding abuse
Did you know that environmental conditions also contribute to mental health? If you find yourself to be in an environment where you encounter abuse regularly, you might as well consider stepping out of such hostile environments.
Abuse can be physical, sexual, and psychological also. The trauma that the mind faces because of hostile environments can have hazardous effects for years down the line. Finding a way out of such environments and seeking out for professional help is what can assist in bettering your mental health by leaps and bounds.
To have a sane and sound mind, it is essential that you have healthy relationships with people around you. Having a good relationship may not be the end but it surely is a means to an end. Medical researchers reveal that considerable amount of improvement has been noticed in people who got involved in romantic relationships.
Healthy relationships boost your morale and keep anxiety and low self-esteem at bay. It is imperative to work on your relationship and if you are going through a toxic relationship, you either mend it or walk away from it for it is not good for your mental health.
To wrap up
Mental health can only be as good as you want it to be. Opting for alternatives like meditation and e-cigarettes can come in handy to beat stress. Explore these tips and make sure that you avail of a healthy and sound mind.
Millions of people throughout the world are affected by mental health issues today. In fact, according to the World Health Organization about 300 million people suffer from depression and another 260 million are wrestling with anxiety disorders. While researchers haven’t developed any new medications in about three decades, technological advances are making headway today. These are helping with diagnosing, tracking, managing, and mitigating things so patients stick to their treatment plans.
Apps for Everything
One of the biggest breakthroughs we’re seeing is in the way of apps. Just as with everything else in life, there’s an app for everything today – from PTSD to addiction. There are literally thousands of apps today. While some of them are targeted at users with specific mental health issues, helping them track and manage their symptoms. Other apps help with things like meditation, PTSD, eating disorders, and addictions.
All of these apps are quite beneficial in different ways. While they’re convenient, anonymous, and inexpensive they should never serve as a stand-in for professional treatment. This is because they aren’t backed by any peer-reviewed research or clinical studies since tech development moves faster than traditional scientific testing. Furthermore, confidentiality is a major issue because these apps don’t adhere to HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996).
There are also some studies that show the improvements in patients’ lives, made by these apps. In order to know the difference here, you should discuss any app you’re considering using with your doctor or therapist. These should be ones that rely on evidence-based treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy. Additionally, double-check to make sure that the app developer is affiliated with either an academic research institution or a government agency.
One-on-One Therapy With Video or Social Therapy
What’s even better than using an app though is one on one interaction online with a therapist. This is done through video and text. It works particularly well for anyone who can’t find a therapist to meet with in-person in their area. According to Mental Floss, these platforms allow patients to use their computer or phone to connect with a therapist through voice or video. There are also some text-based platforms that let you send an unlimited amount of messages via your phone, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and they only charge you a flat, monthly fee.
Unimelb even found one platform that’s like Facebook in that it’s a social networking site that offers specialized therapeutic components including a forum through which you can crowd-source solutions to common issues. This is easy to use because it emulates the look of a popular social media site. These platforms are also quite flexible, which is why they serve as the backbone for a lot of today’s popular mental health websites. Here you’ll receive tailored content suggestions, as well as timely and relevant therapy modules based on information like usage history and text analysis.
While all of this sounds great, it can also be a double-edged sword. Social media sites like Facebook are known to cause or exacerbate certain mental health issues. Although therapeutic platforms are designed to avoid most of these pitfalls and help with these issues, you should still use caution here.
Another area in which you need to use caution is with technological treatments. According to The DBS Alliance, these biological treatments are shown to reduce the symptoms of depression and bipolar disorder. They include:
- Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) was first discovered by researchers in the 1930s who learned that by applying a small electric current to the brain caused small, mild, 30 second long seizures that changed the brain’s chemistry. Over the years this therapy has grown more mild and tolerable especially since it’s now conducted in the hospital under mild anesthesia. When this treatment is conducted two or three times a week for a few weeks research demonstrates its effectiveness in treating severe depression. However, there are some side effects, including confusion and memory loss.
- Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) uses a special electromagnetic device that’s placed on your scalp. From there it sends out short bursts of energy to your brain that stimulate the nerve cells that are associated with your mood regulation. This doesn’t require surgery, hospitalization, or anesthesia. You may experience a mild headache or light-headedness afterward but they won’t last long.
- Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) involves implanting a small battery-powered device that’s like a pacemaker under your skin on the left side of your chest. This FDA approved device is programmed to deliver a mild electrical stimulation to your vagus nerve. Anyone over the age of 18 who’s experiencing chronic or recurrent treatment-resistant depression (either uni or bipolar) may benefit from this. The most common side effects include hoarseness, sore throat and shortness of breath.
- Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES) devices are attached to your head through a headband or worn over your ear lobes with clips. From there they send a low-level electric current across your head and brain in short spurts. You won’t even feel it happening because it’s at such a low-level.
- Biofeedback helps you control your symptoms by taking deep breaths, relaxing your muscles, and changing your thoughts. This is done through a device that you either wear or attach to your finger or earlobe. From there it measures your heart-rate, muscle tension, and breathing. You then receive feedback from the device as it either beeps or flashes at you. Once you change your physiological reaction to the device, the feedback will also change. This allows you to learn how to reduce the symptoms you’re experiencing and hopefully, you can eventually do this without using the device. As such, this is a way of reconditioning the patterns you have ingrained in your life.
Although criticism about the impact of digital technology on emotional well-being does exist, this technology is definitely making some headway today. It won’t be long before it offers us a lot of great ways to improve our mental well-being.
Are you single in the city? Let us stretch the question further. Are you alone in the city? The great repetitive model of our professional lives mandates that we wake up early, bath, dress up, eat, work, exercise, sleep and repeat. Being alone is fine as long as you do not feel the burden of walking alone on the long and relentlessly painful paths of life. Being a socially acceptable person is as much important as being a civilized human is. Society was formed by humans to keep humans away from leading sequestered lives on their own. Cooperation, celebrations and sorrow sharing is enabled by being with others, seeking out like-minded people, exploring new dimensions of life and stepping out of our households to experience the beauty of this material world.
Being a socially accepted person is not a big deal to many. Yet, there are those brilliant academics, shy technology geeks and coding geniuses to name a few here, that find it difficult to make eye contact during conversations with people, handle the fear of rejection and negotiate a deal with their friends for a movie or dinner. While plain advisory must find an able companion in the seeker himself, it is worthwhile to put to practice these good habits to reclaim one’s legitimate territory in social circles.
Reject Rejection as You Reject Anything Else That Doesn’t Work for You
The fear of rejection very often gets the better of us. We seek an opportunity to talk to a person every day. The person may be a neighbour next door or the colleague that occupies the adjacent cabin. Even as the person walks by, your feet are frozen with fear and the exact words that you intend to blurt, seem to disappear into thin air. What holds us back? It is the fear of rejection. Reject rejection like anything else. Remember a person may reject an idea not the person that you are. Be yourself and remember that there is always a next idea to strike a conversation.
Develop Empathy to Start Afresh on the Social Circuit
Will that person take to my words nicely? What if that colleague forms a bad impression about me? These are legitimate questions to ask and so are the answers. Seek answers to these questions. Get into somebody else’s shoes for a while and put on your thinking hat to understand the position that the other person is in. What would you have done in that situation that he is in? Develop empathy and curate the offer in your pitch. Be realistic and remember that it is as much your right to move on, as is the right of the other to refuse you.
Accept Invitations to Social Get Together Events and Parties
When you are invited to events, parties and anniversaries, understand that there is a group of people that wants you to be a part of their lives. In the fast paced world of today, nobody stops by for others without an enlightened self-interest. The fact that your presence is being solicited at a venue should make you happy. It means that you are in demand. Whatever the reason that people want to be with you; there is always a reward that follows. You can taste some awesome cuisines from far off places; learn a new trick to earn higher profits in business, know a new health tip or if you are lucky, get to know your prospective life partner.
Be Punctual When Travelling or Attending An Activity with Friends
Nobody likes to be kept waiting. Realize that if you are planning to catch a movie with a bunch of friends, colleagues or neighbors, the onus is on everyone including you to maintain the time schedule. Do not spoil the fun or force everybody in the group to pay for your late arrival, memory failure or other silly mistakes.
Look for Common Interests and Shared Goals When Bonding with a New Group
Many a time it so happens that you look forward with hope in your heart with a preconceived notion before moving towards a new social group and then, the results do not turn out as planned. These small things can let your confidence down and you may decide to stay indoors instead of seeking new opportunities to socialize. Do not confine yourself to a closet of work, sleep and eat. Break free from notions. Remember that no two persons are the same. No two groups are the same. Life does not have to stop with one disappointment.
Exude Confidence with Your Body Language All the Time
The one that deems himself eligible to bag the coveted chair, eventually does stake claim to it. Think positively about yourself and remind the self that you are a king. Exude confidence in every move. Make eye contact with people while talking, listen to them while interacting and stay firm on what you think is right for you. Socializing does not require you to be adamant, but if you feel boundaries of basic principles are being transgressed, say it politely.
Drop the Habit of Drinking Regularly
How generous should you be with the alcohol intake? How much should you drink? Make a habit of drinking in mild quantities only. Drop any bad habit of boozing regularly. All social groups do not necessarily consist of young extroverts. Going mild with your alcohol intake allows you access to groups of senior citizens, children, teenagers and even mixed groups having women that like to stay away from boozing. Even if you are drinking at a social jig, make sure that you stop before it is too late. If you are the one that has to drive the car, drink only as much as is safe. Politely share your concern of sticking to an alcohol routine with the hosts and they will perfectly understand your position. Nobody wants a social jig to be spoilt by a bar house ruckus, feuds, small talk or worse, accidents.
Drop the Habit of Smoking
If you are a smoker, then chances are that you have fewer invitations from families, get to interact less with children in the neighbourhood and certainly have difficulties talking a woman into confidence for a dinner plan. People do not like the pungent smell of cigarettes. More importantly the element of passive smoking drives off the mood of people around you at parties and events. It is not only harmful to your health but also takes its toll on the health of others around. There are alternatives available, like, switching to e-cigarettes that do not contain tobacco and emit vapour, not smoke. Vaping, if done with etiquettes does not turn off people around at a social jig and causes reasonably low adverse impact to their health and keeps the air in the venue fresh, without the pungent smell of a cigarette.
Being a sociable person is not a choice. A civilized man always prefers to stay connected to people around him, seeks opportunities in new contacts and looks to give back to society. Remember that these above-mentioned habits are just few of the must haves for you to make a start towards an active social life. It is important to take that first step towards a change for better. Take that first step now!